Teacher Spotlight From NYC: Ms. Xavier

Name: Amanda Xavier 

Grade/Subject Currently Teaching: 6th Grade English Language Arts                     

Current City: Brooklyn, New York, United States of America

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Why do you think it’s important to connect your students globally on UClass?

Several of my students are either immigrants or first generation Americans.  They already have something of a worldview.  I think it is important for them to share their different points of view and to see how other cultures around the world respond to similar problems or ideas.   Since my class is something of a mini UN, having them discuss global topics on UClass just expands on what they presently do in class.

How do you use UClass in your classroom?

I use UClass in two different ways.  First, all of my classes watch CNN Student News once a week.  It’s a great news clip summarizing several current events topics daily.  After my students watch the clip they create questions, comments, or opinions about any two topics they watched and post them to UClass.  They then have to read their classmates’ posts and comment on them.  I love this method of classroom discussion.  It shows kids that they can discuss meaningful topics online and it gives my shy students the chance to voice their thoughts in a much less stressful environment.  I have had some great group discussions using CNN Student News.

The other way I use UClass is I letting my honors class post their homework on it with the same back and forth discussions.  This gives their homework assignments a little extra excitement.  My kids really enjoy trying to outdo each other with their homework answers.

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Share a great moment that your students have had while using UClass.

My favorite UClass moment is when I noticed one my boys posting his own discussion questions randomly on his own time.  It started with a post about Hurricane Sandy (we were right in her path) and just took off from there.   He has become the unofficial moderator of his class, and many of the other kids responded with insightful comments.

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What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice.  It may be cliché, but it is a classic and I fell in love with it instantly when I read it as an adult.  Ironically, I didn’t want to read it as a child because I thought it was about race relations.  I love Elizabeth’s attitude.  I like to think that if I were alive in Georgian England, I’d mouth off to condescending ladies as well.   I usually read it on vacations and I always feel as if I am visiting with old friends.

What do you love about being a teacher?

I love when my kids come back to me years later and tell me how much they enjoyed a book or unit that we did together.  I truly love to read and that is what I want my students to take away from my class the most.  When I see them five, six, or even 12 years later and they still remember some book or lesson fondly, I feel that I have passed on the love of reading to another lucky person.

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Start Connecting @ UClass.org

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